Laura Mulvey's Visual Pleasure And Narrative Cinema

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Laura Mulvey is the author of “Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema”. Where she uses psychoanalytic theories of Freud and Lacan, to critique Hollywood films. A very big argument that she pursues is Freud’s concept of “Scopophilia”. Which is defined as obtaining a sense of pleasure from observing someone else. Freud compares this to a form of sexual domination. Observing someone without their knowledge, is like possessing a kind of mastery over them. Mulvey takes this concept and compares is to films and their audiences. This same pleasure and scopophilia, can be observed through images in film. She goes even further to say, this pleasure is often gained from identifying with characters on screen. People can see characters as idealized versions …show more content…
The idea previously mentioned, of the dominance of watching someone without their knowledge, is basically a character description of Jeff. He literally spies on his neighbors without them knowing. In the beginning of the film, Jeff himself even makes a comment about this. Saying that he’s in a two room apartment with nothing to do except look out the window at the neighbors. While he exclaims this, the opening shots of the film make it very obvious what Jeff and the target audience are supposed to see. The camera pans from apartment to apartment, peering into open windows and doors. The men are fully clothed and going about their daily routines. While the woman are being portrayed in very objectifying ways. One woman is wearing very short shorts, and a bra. She dances around the kitchen and continuously bends over, exposing her full backside to the camera. Meanwhile two other women climb into a hot tub on the roof and both disrobe, tossing their covers over the wall. All the while, a helicopter conveniently hovers over them. As Jeff talks on the phone these women all clearly grab his attention, and no doubt the audiences as well. Though examples of the male gaze, and scopophilia can be found in this movie. It is worth pointing out that Hitchcock may have been doing this on purpose to make an underlying statement. It’s arguable that Jeff observing his neighbors, is likened to films and their audiences. Stella’s character even makes a joke about this at the beginning of the movie saying, “We’ve become a race of peeping toms”, when catching Jeff staring out the window. Though it is clear women in this movie are objectified, it is not completely Ludacris to say that Hitchcock could have been making an underlying statement about this

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